As we have talked about in various blog articles, social media posts and podcasts, video content is the way of the future for content creation. But how do you make sure your videos are seen?

An important step in video creation is making sure each video is properly optimized. Video optimization can be done in a number of ways, from creating a custom thumbnail, adding captions, inserting keywords in the description and title, adding popular tags and implementing an engaging call to action. Use this article as your step-by-step content creation guide to optimize all of your videos.

Before we get into the details, there are some things to note:

  • Optimization is always changing due to the search algorithms that businesses like YouTube and Google use. It’s best to keep up to date on current trends and stay ahead of the game.
  • Even if you follow all the tips in this article, if the content of your video is not well-produced or interesting to the viewer it may still underperform online.

Now we can begin to look at how you can optimize your videos.

What Role Does Video Play In Your Digital Marketing Campaign?

Every aspect of your digital marketing campaign should have a clear and defined purpose. So, before you get into video production, think about why you are making the video. What do you hope to achieve?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, the three things you need to keep in mind are:

  • The emotions you want to evoke and why (fear and excitement are a few that work especially well)
  • The target buyer personas to which the video will appeal
  • The actions you want your leads to take based on the content they consume

Keeping these in mind will help you develop a video the is perfectly optimized to your specific audience.

Why Keywords Matter in Content Creation

Are your videos including SEO keywords?

After you determine what you want your video to be, conduct keyword research about your selected topic. Strategic keywords are essential for successful digital marketing in any facet. Tools like Keywords Everywhere will give you ideas for terms to use and show you how frequently they appear in search engine results. If you use them in a natural way throughout the content creation process, your videos are that much more likely to appear in search results.

Use your keywords in the:

  • Video title
  • File name
  • Description
  • Any social media posts you create promoting that piece of content

Descriptions on YouTube can be up to 1000 words long, but your viewers came to watch a video and not read an article, so keep your descriptions short. Also, as HubSpot explains, YouTube only displays the first two to three lines of text; make sure important information is upfront so it appears without your audience needing to click the “Show More” button. It is also a good idea to post relevant links in your descriptions so you can encourage your audience to easily view your additional content.

As titles go, the shorter they are, the better. YouTube will use ellipses to cut off titles after 66 characters. Stick with short catchy headlines that include your keywords to garner to most benefit.

Categorizing Your Videos

When you upload your videos to a site like YouTube, make sure to add tags and categorize them. Selecting a category will group your video with similar content and increase the chances of it being viewed. According to HubSpot, you’ll want to keep in mind the following questions as you select your categories:

  • Who are the top creators within the category?
  • What are they known for and what do they do well?
  • Are there any patterns between the audiences of similar channels within a given category?
  • Do the videos within a similar category share qualities like production value, length or format?
  • Does your brand of content creation work for this platform?

Keeping these things in mind while categorizing your video will help boost your digital marketing in the long run.

How Captions Improve Your Video Content Creation

For successful digital marketing, your videos need to have captions. Adding in subtitles and closed captions will boost how frequently your video appears in searches by highlighting important keywords that appear throughout your video.

Something to note about captions: It can quickly become a time-consuming job for even skilled video editors, but there are tools out there to make the process easier.

YouTube and other video services can automatically generate captions, but these are often inaccurate, include mistranslations and misspellings; it is best to avoid this when possible. YouTube also allows you to create your own captions using their content creation editor and will automatically create time stamps for when their system detects speaking. You can save some time in the video editing process by using voice typing on Google Docs. To do this, simply start the video and the recording at the same time. This, however, will still result in some misspellings and translation errors. To find additional resources for captioning, visit this link.

Captions also serve another purpose beyond improving SEO: adding them to your video will allow it to be viewed by those who are hearing impaired. According to a.i, one in six people has some form of hearing loss. If you don’t have videos they can easily watch, you could be missing out on a huge group of people.

In addition, 85 percent of Facebook users report they watch videos without sound. With the number of YouTube videos that are seen on social media platforms, you can bet this affects the videos you upload there, too.

Take the time to add captions; it makes your videos more visible to more of your target audience.

How to Properly Use Custom Thumbnails

Are you creating custom thumbnails for your video content?

The first thing anyone will see from your video will be the thumbnail. Video sites like YouTube will automatically pull a thumbnail directly from the video for you, and while this will suffice if you have no other option, HubSpot explains, “90 percent of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails.”

There are several content creation tools out there for creating thumbnails, but we recommend using Canva and Adobe Spark, both of which are free. They are limited in some capacity but are an excellent resource for initial thumbnail creation. For recommended dimensions and additional information about YouTube thumbnails, visit our article about video production for social media. Another thing to keep in mind, if you upload your video to YouTube, is you will need to have a verified account before you are able to upload your custom thumbnails.

How to Use YouTube Call Cards

If you have ever watched a YouTube video, you have encountered YouTube cards – even if you didn’t know what they were called.

This useful feature is another way you can link to your website or other digital marketing content you want to showcase. According to YouTube’s Creators Academy, “These are preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile, which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.”

As HubSpot explains, you can add up to 5 cards per video on YouTube. There are several different types:

  • Channel cards that direct viewers to another channel.
  • Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of U.S. nonprofit organizations.
  • Fan funding to ask your viewers to help support the creation of your video content.
  • Link cards, which direct viewers to an external site, approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform.
  • Poll cards, which pose a question to viewers and allow them to vote for a response.
  • Video or playlist cards, which link to other YouTube content of this kind.

Learn more about these cards and why you should use them in this article.

Why You Need to End All Your Digital Marketing Pieces With A Call To Action

Just like a well-written article, it is important to have a call to action in your video.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, calls to action should include:

  • A series of YouTube annotations pointing to different resources
  • A direct prompt from the video’s host
  • A short link at the end of the video directing viewers to a landing page

Also make sure to end every video with a graphic that indicates what you want your audience to do next, whether it’s subscribing to your channel or visiting your website. Think of it as one last call to action that is shown with images instead of words.

Planning For Your Next Video

Always be planning for your next video content.

The last step in the video optimization process is to plan for your next round of content creation. Look at your video analytics to see what worked and what didn’t.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Interpreting your prospects’ digital behavior is the key to making informed decisions about future content. It’s only by analyzing who is watching specific videos, and for how long, that you’ll see which topics are resonating, and you’ll start to understand ways to modify your content strategy based on how your content typically performs.”

Video optimization may seem tedious, but video content creation can take a long time, and if you don’t correctly optimize it, your video may never be seen.